Somerset

Bath congestion charge: Lib Dems accused of reviving scrapped plan

Bath
Image caption The Lib Dems says there are no plans to charge private cars coming into Bath

Councillors are being accused of attempting to reintroduce plans for a £9 car congestion charge.

Opponents claim the Liberal Democrat administration at Bath and North East Somerset Council plans to pay £100,000 to review the city's Clean Air Zone and revive previously-dropped plans for the charge.

Former Labour councillor Joe Rayment said many people would struggle to pay.

Deputy council leader Richard Samuel denied car drivers would be charged.

Bath was one of 27 authorities ordered by the government to act in response to an air quality study.

Under Clean Air Zone plans drawn up by the previous Conservative administration, lorries will be charged to enter the Bath city centre.

'Non-charging measures'

In October, the council proposed a £9 charge for private cars, but this was dropped in March.

Mr Rayment, former councillor for Twerton, said the Liberal Democrats wanted to review the strategy "purely because they want to put their own stamp on it".

He said: "This is a settled matter. We are concerned. In Twerton there are lot of people on low incomes who would struggle to pay it, and they are more likely to have older cars."

But Mr Samuel said: "We will not be charging cars. We will be taking other... non-charging measures."

He said his party was undertaking the review to ensure legal standards were adhered to, and claimed Conservative plans would lead to traffic displacement into residential areas outside the city centre.

Former deputy leader, Conservative councillor Mark Shelford, said: "All of us have those concerns, and it's for them (the Lib Dems) to get the best for the city.

"It was always about getting the best for the residents and that's what we hope they do."

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